This is what’s on my heart today…
by Gina Conroy
So you figured out your passion prayed about your dream, and have overcome your doubts. What’s the next step in following your dreams?
Share Your Dream with Your Parents
Chances are your parents will have to sacrifice a lot of time and energy to help you pursue your dreams so it’s a good idea to clue them in from the start. Be real with your parents and tell them why this is important to you, and when they try and dissuade you or discourage you, which they may at first if they think you can’t reach your goals, don’t attack, retaliate, or justify. Just listen to their concerns and pray that they’ll come around. If they don’t, hide your dream in your heart a little longer and continue to pray and look for little signs that they’re ready to support you.
Remember, even if you think you’re ready to pursue your dreams, now might not be the right time. Your family’s support in reaching your goals is important, but sometimes parents need time to absorb the shock and weigh the cost. They want you to succeed, but sometimes it takes them longer to see your vision.
So what do you do while you’re waiting for them to come around?
Prove to Your Parents this Dream is Important to You by Doing the Work
In the past they may have indulged your whims to take trumpet lessons or gymnastics only to have you quit after a couple of months. Maybe you’ve switched interests too often and never stuck with one thing. Whatever the reason for your parents’ lack of support you need to prove to them that you’re serious about this new dream.
My children have goals of performing on stage and for TV and film, and they are gifted, but I’m not convinced they have the drive to make it happen. I’m the one who searches the Disney casting sights and when I’ve told my children to show me they were serious about acting by taking some classes (that they had to pay ½ for) or earn money for headshots, there was always some excuse or complaint. So I knew they weren’t serious, and I’d be wasting my time to give my energy towards something they weren’t willing to do the work for.
If you want to show your parents you’re serious about your dream, take the initiative and don’t complain and blame them for not doing the work for you. Take classes in your chosen field, read online blogs, and research website, but don’t sign up for something without your parents’ consent. There are many scams and predators looking for kids with a dream. Make sure you clue your parents in on your research and have them give you permission for anything that requires you to join a website or give out your information. Get recommendations on which sites, training centers, and organizations can be trusted. And remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Set realistic Goals
If you’re an only child, your parents may be able to devote a lot of time to your dreams, but if you’re not, then you have to be patient and realize not only will your siblings have their own dreams, but your parents’ might have ones of their own. Be sympathetic and encourage your siblings and parents to pursue their dreams. Maybe even offer to help do something that brings them closer to fulfilling their goals. Paying it forward can go a long way especially when you need their help.
Whether now is the time to share and pursue your dreams, or if you need to wait a little longer, there are still things you can do to prepare yourself for when the opportunity to follow your dream presents itself. Remember, it’s not your parents’ responsibility to do the work for you, but they can be a great encouragement if you take the initiative and lead the way. If you work at your goals little by little, you’ll get there much quicker than by doing nothing.
If writing is your dream, then I want to help you pursue it by offering a 10% discount when you sign up for my Teen Writing Course Just mention you read this post on Nicole’s site when you inquire.
Speaking of pursuing dreams…
Gina Conroy is a dreamer, author, wanna-be ballroom dancer, and mom of four who encourages her children to follow their dreams while she pursues her own. After seven years of hard work and dreaming , her debut novella, Cherry Blossom Capers, was released with Barbour Publishing, and Gina recently contracted her first full length mystery with Stonehouse Ink and hopes to see it in print by early next year. Her children have also found success as award winners in academics, writing, theatre, music, and cake baking, including her oldest son’s recent win at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s American Idol attraction. When not pursuing her own goals or helping her children with theirs, she encourages other dreamers and writers at Writer…Interrupted to never give up. You can hear more about Gina’s encouragement for teens with dreams on Choose Now Radio. Gina loves to connect with readers. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Well, this is cool! I’m thrilled that Nicole asked me to be part of Choose NOW Ministries with a monthly column. She’s told me how loyal and brilliant her readers are and I’m ready to sign on and join you in this noble quest of figuring out how to choose what God wants for our lives.
Even better, I get to talk about all the crazy, bizarre, stultifying, irresistible things that go on with celebrities. You get to help me decide whether the celebrity behavior of the week is worthy or unworthy of your time and valuable brain cells.
I admit I chuckled a little when I settled on this topic for my column. I can hear all our mothers lining up to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” With that adage in mind, a column about the lives of celebrities written by a Christian could potentially be a huge, yawning black hole where I say nothing at all.
But that would be boring, and a complete waste of space in Nicole’s Choose NOW Ministries website.
So here’s the deal, I’ll discuss a timely celebrity issue (positive or negative) in my column, but…(the part of the column in which I make a solemn pledge to you is coming)—
In the tradition of Hollywood, I will hand out an award each month to a celebrity who has gone above and beyond to get it right. I’m calling my award the “The Lola” because that sounds sort of awesome and it was my nickname for a short time in my early twenties.
Yes, I’ll zoom in on one person that did something right. And, guess what? They are out there. I wouldn’t kid you about something like that. I don’t want to focus on Tim Tebow and T. Swift EVERY month, so I’m going to need your eyes and ears. (By the way, don’t you think Tebow and Swift should be a couple? We could call them Swiftbow or Twift or Taybow. They would be great parents to their beautiful, talented babies.)
I NEED YOU!
Here’s your assignment, should you choose to accept—
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org evidence of worthy behavior exhibited by a celebrity (and I use that term broadly—think of any person getting attention by the media) and I will call you all kinds of lovely names in my column and tell readers far and wide of your genius. Your nominee will win The Lola, and you will be known forever as a contributor to a massively influential celebrity column. And, also, I will tweet your name.
In Today’s Celebrity News:
Since we’re just getting started on this project together, I decided to mash-up the celebrity news this week with The Lola Award.
And the winner of this month’s Lola is . . .
So excited!!! Not only has Girl Talk released, but Natalie and Emily are going to be my guests on Teen Talk Radio tonight!
We’re going to be fielding some reader’s questions on the spot! I have a small stack set aside already, but you can also call in with your questions. You’ll want to call between 10-10:45pm EST at 877-864-4869.
Some samples of tonight’s questions are:
“My BFF is after my boyfriend. . .”
“I don’t like the church my parents drag me to. . .”
“I think I might be anorexic. . .”
-Laura L. Smith, author of Skinny
(Beth Nolan Conners Beth’s Book-Nook Blog )
Award-winning director of BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS and ONE NATION UNDER GOD, Will Bakke found his niche as filmmaker while in college at Baylor University, when he developed the short comedy sketch series Bearly There Productions. For that work, MTV named Bakke one of the Top 25 Filmmakers on Campus. His focus since is on feature films; he’ll direct the third film from Riot Studios with the working title BELIEVE ME.
A 2010 graduate of Georgetown University, Alex Carroll co-produced both BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS and ONE NATION UNDER GOD. He also was a featured performer in BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS. In 2009, Alex founded Scot Productions, a sports media website for his high school alma mater in Dallas, and Campus Corner Connection, a successful advertising and social networking site. While at Georgetown, Carroll helped initiate a campus ministry known as The Gathering.
CHURCH AND THE NEXT GENERATION
In the film BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS, four recent college graduates, all Christians, trek across Europe, cameras in hand and questions in mind. From London to Barcelona to Rome, Paris and beyond, they engage with young locals and fellow travelers to find out how Christians are perceived and examine the relevance of their own faith in today’s world.
This honest film from these young believers, part documentary, part “road picture,” dares to broach the hard questions about faith and the next generation. Meanwhile, a recent study from the Barna Group, a leading research firm in matters of faith, points to interesting trends among young people and the church drain.
As young Christians transition from high school to young adulthood:
Why do young adult believers grow dissatisfied with the church? Leading reasons include:
SOURCE: You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church and Rethinking Faith, by David Kinnaman, 2011, Baker Books.
Are you satisfied with your home life? Or do you want to find ways to make this coming year way better than last year in your home? Take a look at these ten steps, ten things you can do to have an incredible impact on your family.
1. Be a Model
Are you being the kind of friend and family member you want others to be? Are you treating others like you want to be treated? These teen years are usually a pretty moody time, but it’s important to do your best to control your words and actions.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
I’m not talking about saying grace at dinner–that’s great, but there’s more to a good prayer life in the home. When’s the last time you prayed for your family members. . .out loud. . .in their presence? Yes, I know, it feels awkward to pray with your mom and dad sometimes. But I promise, the more you do it, the easier it’ll be. It’s a really sad thing when families don’t pray together, and, even if you have to be the one to get the habit started, go for it!
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20
3. Be Consistent at Home, Church, and School
Who are you? Are you one person at home, one person at school, and another one at church? The only way to live an authentic life in Christ is to be yourself everywhere you go. Don’t live the extremes by being the perfect little Christian at Church and a rebel at school. Be honest about your faith and your struggles.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:7
4. Laugh Often
We talked about that typical teenage moodiness in number one, but let me ask you a question. Are you happy, joking, and teasing with your friends, but then you shut down the instant you walk through your home’s front door? You’ll probably blame that on your parents somehow, but if you’re reading this, then you’re old enough to take some responsibility for yourself. Don’t treat your family members worse than you’d treat your friends. Love your family, laugh with them. . .enjoy them. Let them be a blessing and a bonus in your life, not something you have to endure.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Psalms 126:2
I hear from so many teens who say they’d love to have better communication with their parents, but get shut out every time they try to open a heavy conversation. You know, I get how frustrating that must be. Sadly, though, your parents make mistakes, too. Can I ask a personal favor? Try again. And then again.
And, on the flip side, make yourself available to your parents when they want to talk, too.
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Proverbs 17:27
Have you hugged your parents today? I’m serious. Think about it. Do days go by where there is no physical contact from you? You might squirm at the thought, but it’s a scientific fact that your body craves touch, and so do your parents. Nothing you do can say, “I love you,” quite like a hug. Oh, except actually saying, “I love you.” Be sure to do that, too.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
7. Be Generous
Generosity isn’t only giving money. It can involve time, talent, and other resources as well. True generosity of spirit involves putting the needs of others ahead of your own needs and wants.
What is the last act of kindness or charity your family has participated in or initiated? Why not find something you can do together and use it as a bonding experience with your family members.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25
8. Go Unplugged
Yep. I’m going there.
What about a day of the week, or a weekend every month, where you turn off all forms of electronic entertainment in your home? This means no television, video games, computers, electronic games, etc. I promise, if you do this, numbers 2, 4, 5, and 10 will be far easier to accomplish because you’ll have much more #10! This has to be something the whole family supports, but how much more meaningful would it be if the idea came from you than from your parents. What a way to prove that you want to spend time with them.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you. . . 1 John 2:15
9. Experience True Joy
Joy is different than laughter or fun. It comes from deep within; it’s a gift from God. Do you take joy in your family members? Do you like them as well as love them? Are you truly thankful for them? If you’re in a rut where you’re bickering a lot or finding yourself annoyed with your mom and dad or siblings constantly, consider that the joy of the Lord may be missing in your family relationships. Don’t worry though, joy comes from God and He’ll gladly fill you up if you ask Him to.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
10. Give Time
There is no substitute for time spent together.
Prove to your family members they are your number one priority and that you enjoy them by giving them quantity AND quality time. This might mean skipping a trip to the mall or a sleepover with your girlfriends. Or something even more valuable to you. Just know, your sacrifice will never be worthless.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
Leave a comment to enter to win a copy of The Wishing Pearl.
On Teen Talk Radio last week, I spoke with Nicole Weider about the lie of Hollywood. On the show, I mentioned a video by the Dove organization that I’ve showed here on this blog before. Several people wrote to me asking about that video, so I thought I’d repost it for you.
THIS IS AMAZING!!!
How does that make you feel?
PS: Don’t miss out! The Wishing Pearl is on Amazon’s December 100 Kindle books under 3.99 list…it’s only 1.99!!!!!
“Although I was still in high school, I partied with well-known actors, had an all-access pass to the hottest clubs, and mingled with the see-and-be-seen celebrities. But because I was young and naïve, I neglected the most basic things that actually would help me achieve my goal of fame: getting a headshot and a resume, taking advanced acting classes, making sure I got enough sleep at night.
The glamour, glitz and the lights had a dark side that terrified me. Although I was running around with the cool kids and living the life of a starlet, I was still a small town girl in my heart. Not only that, but something never felt quite right when it came time to actually audition. Each time a camera was focused on me, I didn’t feel prepared enough, pretty enough, or completely ready to be scrutinized by the people who make it all “happen”.
Nicole Weider and I spoke about how Christianity needs to be redefined for young girls. There is a certain stereotype of how a Christian girl should look, dress and act, and Nicole wants to show young women that you can be a good Christian and still embrace many parts of the popular culture without giving in to its lies.
The second half of the show, Christy-Award winning, Jill Williamson, author of the Blood of Kings Triology, joined me to talk about her latest book, Replication: The Jason Experiment, Zondervan. We had a blast chatting about cloning! Creeeeeepy! Jill shares her insights on the subject of cloning and we. . .um. . .speculate a bit. lol
Here’s the Replication trailer:
Released for FREE download on December 1, 2011, 101 Ways to be a Courageous Teen is based on my belief that teenagers inherently want to live a courageous life. With all the buzz directed toward men and women about the movie “Courageous”, I wanted to encourage teenagers to also take a stand for what’s right. I want teens to know that the choices they make not only affect them now but can affect how “courageous” they are later as parents and adults.
Teenagers are the next generation of “Courageous” men and women.
Dealing with topics like friendship, dating, evangelism, worship, Internet, and family, this accessible, quick-reference eBook offers teens an at-your-fingertips tool to do something courageous for Christ every single day. By implementing these 101 courageous moments into their everyday lives, teens will uncover strength they didn’t even know they had.
I believe in teenagers—that they have a deep desire to live large and make a difference,” says O’Dell. “I believe they want to be empowered to stand up for Christ and shine brightly into the world around them, but need tools to move forward with purpose. 101 Ways to Be a Courageous Teen is God’s message, not mine. I want nothing more than to get this information and these tools into the hands of teenagers, so I can sit back in awe to watch them use it. This eBook is my gift to them–to you!
Visit the Choose NOW Ministries store, and enter coupon code COURAGE to receive the book for FREE.
This book is also available on Kindle/Amazon and soon on Smashwords.
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